As Coronavirus Vaccine shows promise, UK plans to test millions

As Coronavirus Vaccine shows promise, UK plans to test millions

A coronavirus vaccine, developed by government scientists and Moderna, a biotech company, appeared safe and provoked an immune response in 45 people in a study.

 

The Moderna experimental coronavirus vaccine made by the biotech company provoked a promising immune response against the virus and appeared safe in the first 45 people who received it, researchers reported on Tuesday.



According to New England Journal of Medicine, the vaccine developed with researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was the first coronavirus vaccine to be tested in humans, adding that the large Phase 3 tests of it would begin on July 27, involving 30,000 people. Half of the participants will be a control group who will receive placebos.

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The trial will need to show that those who were vaccinated were significantly less likely to contract the virus than those who got a placebo. The fastest way to get results is to test the vaccine in a “hot spot” with many cases, and the study is looking for people at high risk because of their locations or circumstances.



Vaccines and improved treatments are the only hope of returning lives back to anything close to normal, and dozens of companies are racing to develop vaccines. Experts agree that more than one vaccine will be needed, because no single company could produce the billions of doses needed.

 

“None of us are safe unless all of us are safe,” said Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University in New York. “It’s not just us. It’s everybody in the world.”

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Meanwhile, the UK government is planning to distribute millions of free coronavirus antibody tests after successful secret trials, according to reports.



The finger-prick tests, which can tell within 20 minutes if a person has ever been exposed to the coronavirus, were found to be 98.6  accurate in human trials held in June, the Daily Telegraph reported.

 

“It was found to be 98.6 per cent accurate, and that’s very good news,” Chris Hand, the leader of the UK-RTC, was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.

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“We’re now scaling up with our partners to produce hundreds of thousands of doses every month”, Hand said, adding the government’s health department is in talks with UK-RTC over buying millions of tests before the year ends.



The tests are likely to be free and would be ordered online instead of being sold in supermarkets, according to plans cited by the newspaper.

 

“While these tests will help us better understand how coronavirus is spreading across the country, we do not yet know whether antibodies indicate immunity from reinfection or transmission,” a health department spokesman told the Telegraph.

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